If you’ve been paying attention to the right places in the past few months it was probably obvious this was coming, but Qualcomm is announcing a higher tier to their Snapdragon 82x lineup, known as the Snapdragon 821 or MSM8996 Pro. While today’s announcement basically boils down to acknowledging that this SoC exists and that the big CPU cores have a clock speed of 2.4 GHz, it’s likely that in the months since the Snapdragon 820 was released Qualcomm engineering staff have been working on resolving various errata as well as improving their floorplanning and architecture implementation. It’s also likely that we will see a few new or otherwise revised IP blocks.

  Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
CPU Perf Cluster 2x Kryo 2.2 GHz 2x Kryo 2.4 GHz
CPU Power Cluster 2x Kryo 1.6 GHz 2x Kryo >2 GHz
GPU Adreno 530 624 MHz Adreno ??? ~650 MHz

What isn’t in this announcement is that the power cluster will likely be above 2 GHz and GPU clocks look to be around 650 MHz but without knowing whether there are some changes other than clock relative to Adreno 530 we can’t really estimate the performance of this part. However, this information can be subject to change depending upon what happens at Qualcomm. It's important to note here that while these changes may seem to be small that improvements in the implementation of an SoC can have a dramatic effect on performance and power. I’m sure we’ll be learning more about this SoC in the coming months so for now we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.

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  • Azurael - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - link

    I'd rather have a Snapdragon device running AOSP/CM than an Exynos device running Touchwiz... I'd hazard a guess that the former will be faster than the latter in real world usage, regardless of the Exynos being a technically superior part, too.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, July 14, 2016 - link

    This is true. now if samsung could stop making 28 versions of the same phone.
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - link

    It's not snapdragon, it's samsung:)
    Look at the one plus 3.
  • GXCoder - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    The frequency is the same as Apple A10, double hurricane cores,up to 2.4GHz.
  • Krysto - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    So 10% performance improvement for the CPU and 5% for the GPU? Meh. I would've preferred if they used that to "convert" it into 15% less power consumption for the CPU and 10% for the GPU, at the same performance levels.

    There's little point in trying to make high-end mobile chips more powerful now. For on-device AI, it's better to have some kind of accelerator anyway. For VR, I guess more powerful GPUs would be nice, but efficiency is just as important, as you don't want your phone to only last 15 mins in VR before it burns.
  • frostyfiredude - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Depends how its achieved, that increase in clock speed in the new revision could be achieved in the same power budget as the slower original. Bit more performance and a bit more efficiency with the faster race to sleep and lower intermediate voltages.
  • ikjadoon - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    "Race to sleep" - I thought this had been debunked, by no one other than Anand himself:

  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - link

    I don't see how the link shows anything about race to sleep. He just shows that a faster processor uses more power when doing things faster. Unless the battery benchmarks have a set amount of things to do, this is not an article about race to sleep. If you use a 4 core 4GHz 130W CPU full tilt, you will use more power than a 4 core 3GHz 95W CPU. But if you use them for the exact same thing (i.e. encoding a video), the 4c/4G CPU might finish that task faster and use overall less power than the 4c/3G CPU. Not necessarily, but it might.
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - link

    If he actually debunked race to idle he'd have won an acm award.
    Well, a minor one:)
  • Jigolo - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Hopefully it's more power efficient



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